Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Reverie (c)

Summer Afternoon, Summer Afternoon!!!

The happiest words I croon…
A song of remembrance of yesteryear
When the languid days made it clear….

“What a lovely time is summer!”
A hummingbird is the hummer…

A wonder it floats through the air
From flower to flower with delicate care….

Propelled by the morning wings so fleeting
Their enchanting tiny excursion my greeting…

The sunflower banquette in a seaside lullaby
Leans toward the sun like a happy child’s cry…

Wild blossoms tumble in profusion I spy
And the morning glory climbs up to the sky…

The sweet primrose waits till sunset to unfurl
Unlocking its rich perfume like a rare pearl…

At night the breeze caresses like a feather
Sent as a gift of fair weather…

Wafting against my cheek like a lover
I dream of its touch only to discover…

A thunderclap tears apart our embrace
Into a shelter, cooled off we race…

I can never forget those halcyon days
United with nature despite the haze…

Longingly I yearn to remember these treasures
Knowing this reverie can never be measured.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sea Lullaby (c) By Polly Guerin

Ode to the Sea...
Lulled by the turbulent soliloquy

The soft rolling waves caress the sea…

Clammy-eyed I succumb to the silence
Clearing my thoughts with reliance…

Cares and city cacophony drift away
Clearing the debris for another day….

Sea birds sing a mournful bleep
Stirring emotions in the deep…

The sea bound breeze brushes by
I accept its wisdom with a sigh…

It plays a withered seafarer tune
Rocking, rocking it cradles a loon…

Sweet dreaming I dare not awake
From a sea song slumber for my sake…

Might life go on like a sea lullaby
Embraced with love before I die?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Celia Thaxter American Poet By the Sea (c) by Polly Guerin

Celia Thaxter in her Island Garden, painted by Childe Hassam.

Dear Celia Thaxter: I discovered the incredibly beauty of your poetry inspired by your life on Appledore, one of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire, which I visited so long ago. Your island garden so painstakingly maintained by the Portsmouth Horticultural Society brings to mind the patience and endurance of a woman whose love for the minutest detail of nature found its way in your poetry and also your watercolors and ceramics. Every flower, leaf, bug, slug, sandpiper, seabird and the mighty gray rocks were your friends and blossomed into poems of joyful recognition for their amazing contribution to a life well lived by the sound of the sea.
At first glance the Isles of Shoals seems very sad, stern and bleak, but to you Appledore, where you lived, it was enchanting. You perhaps ascribe your poignant poetry to the sound of the sea to the fact that people forget the hurry and worry and fret of life after living there awhile, and, to the imaginative mind, all things become a dreamy tableau of never ending beauty. The eternal sound of the sea on every side seemingly wears away the edge of preoccupation with the mainland; sharp images become blurred and softened like a sketch in charcoal and tranquility takes over the senses.
By Celia Thaxter: As happy dwellers by the seaside hear In every pause the sea’s mysterious sound, The infinite murmur, solemn and profound, Incessant, filling all the atmosphere, Even so I hear you, for you do surround My newly-waking life, and break for aye About the viewless shores, till they resound With echoes of God’s greatness night and day. Refreshed and glad I feel the full flood-tide Fill every inlet of my waiting soul; Long-striving, eager, hope, beyond control, For help and strength at last is satisfied; And you exalt me, like the sounding sea, With ceaseless whispers of eternity.
Celia reminisces “All flowers had for me such human interest, they were so dear and precious. I wondered how every flower knew what to do and to be; why the morning-glory didn’t forget sometimes, and bear a cluster of elder-bloom, or the elder hand out pennons of gold and purple like the iris; or the goldenrod suddenly blaze out a scarlet plume, the color of the pimpernel, was a mystery to my childish thought. And why did the sweet wild primrose wait till after sunset to unclose its pale yellow buds; why did it unlock its treasure of rich perfume to the night alone? Few flowers bloomed for me upon the lonesome rock; but I made the most of all I had, and neither knew of nor desired more. Ah, how beautiful they were!” (From “Among the Isles of Shoals, by Celia Thaxter, 1873, J.R. Osgood publisher)
Life on the Isles of Shoals, in its remote and pristine beauty vividly colored Celia’s poetry and prose. As I witnessed this sea-locked vista I can tell you that the landscape of the Isles of Shoals has changed little since the time when Thaxter lived there. First as daughter of the lighthouse keeper on White Island Lighthouse and then later on Appledore where her family had the finest island hotel which became an intellectual and literary Mecca drawing artists like Willam Morris Hunt and Childe Hassam to the Shoals as well as well known authors. The burden of caring for her brain-damaged child, Karl, and an invalid husband, Levi, must have weighted heavily on her and would surely have been enough to discourage any writer, but Celia was committed to her role as a poet. She wrote with quiet passion of the place and land that she loved most and gave poetry readings daily throughout the summer season at Appledore.
Celia Thaxter (1835-1894) reputation as the most popular of America’s women poets far surpassed many other poets’ names better known today. Yet Celia’s fame began to wane around 1894 but is regaining its place with new legions of followers today who have come to appreciate her poignant sentiments. And now I leave you with an excerpt from Celia Thaxter’s poem “Land-Locked.”
O Earth! Thy summer song of joy may soar
Ringing to heaven in triumph. I but crave
The sad, caressing murmur of the wave
That breaks in tender music on the shore.

Tranquility (c) by Polly Guerin Inspired by Celia Thaxter, American Poet

Celia Thaxter's Garden by the Sea in Appeldore, the Isles of Shoals, a group of nine small rocky islands off the coast of New Hampshire.

Tranquility (c)
By Polly Guerin

My heart is in the land by the sea

Tranquility is the place I yearn to be....

Where the roaring waves tame the rocks

Sending vibrating rhythmic shocks...

Somewhere a lone fiddler plays a mournful tale

While outside rages a surging gale...

In a sudden the sun breaks blue

Clearing clouds the day renews....

Bringing love and radiant hope

Encouragement, the will to cope...

The storm of life was a passing cloud

The fiddler's mellifluous tune now loud...

And the jig of life dances like the sea

Yes, the land of tranquility is where I want to be!